cover image Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: 
False Apology Poems

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems

Gail Carson Levine, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Harper, $15.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-06-178725-6

Levine models more than 40 poems after William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just to Say,” taking its quasi-repentant tone to a whole new level (and sticking more closely to the format of the original than the poems in Joyce Sidman’s 2007 collection This Is Just to Say). Cordell’s pen-and-ink art is sprinkled with impish people, animals, and personified objects. Several poems reference nursery rhymes, literature, and fairy tales (“I, Rapunzel,/ and not the witch/ have lopped off/ my braid/ which/ you daily/ climbed/ to me/ Forgive me/ you’re not worth/ the pain/ in my scalp”), and Levine has fun with readers, too, mock-threatening those who skip around the book (“Forgive me/ I put the curse of the mummy/ on anyone/ who reads out of order”). Poetry fans fine-tuning their sense of sarcasm need look no further. Ages 6–9. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Mar.)